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1670 ROUTE 34 N. 3R FLOOR SUITE 3C WALL • NJ 07727

The Hydration Misconception

In the summer months, a combination of heat and numerous outdoor activities can be a terrible recipe for dehydration. To reduce your risk of dehydration, everyone urges you to drink more water! However, did you know that if you drink too much water, this can actually be hazardous to your health? With the help of Dr. Rothman, you can work to bust the myth that you should always drink more water.

Overdosing on Water

Not widely known, over hydration and water intoxication are potentially deadly conditions that affects more Americans than you might think. Sodium, the most prevalent mineral in your body, and water are tightly controlled within your internal system. Too much water dilutes your sodium levels and when taken to the extreme can even lead to your death. But before that, your body will suffer from low sodium levels and all of the subsequent ramifications of hyponatremia (low sodium levels).  When you are over hydrating, your sodium levels drop and your body produces a hormone called aldosterone to retain your depleting sodium levels. High levels of aldosterone can lead to excessive urination, fatigue, constipation, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, cardiac arrhythmia, body cramps and pains, and elevated blood sugars just to name a few. Shockingly, any person walking among us could be suffering from over hydration on a daily basis. You could be feeling these exact symptoms and never accurately diagnose the issue. Excessive hydration is something that most people or doctors do not immediately think of treating and if left undiagnosed, you could be suffering from the numerous consequences of this condition.

The Perfect Amount of Water

Research shows that the average person should drink about half of their body weight of water in ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water throughout the day. For a visual comparison, this equates to a little more than 9of the popular 8 oz. bottles of spring water, a little more than 12 coffee mugs full of spring water, or a little more than half of one large gallon jug of spring water.

Spring Water Is Best

In the above example, you are encouraged to drink spring water products. There are countless water brands on the market today, all claiming to be the freshest and cleanest source of water you can drink. However, after removing all marketing strategy, it’s clear that much of the bottled water today is actually processed water. For example, purified water uses a process of reverse osmosis to remove the water of any impurities. However in doing so, minerals and ions are also being pulled out. When the labels call out that the water is purified with added minerals and electrolytes, you should understand that these minerals are an attempt to duplicate nature’s best water source, spring water. 

Don’t be fooled by Sports Drinks

Speaking of electrolytes, don’t be fooled by sports drinks that claim to refresh your body with a healthy dose of electrolytes. Sports drinks and flavored water are terrible for you. These manufactured products are mostly sugar, water and some added amino acids or minerals. If you were looking to replace these minerals from your body, you should be getting them from your food, not water. Sports drinks and flavored waters are not remotely healthy for you. This is just a marketing ploy to get you hooked on the taste by adding sugar or artificial sweeteners, and encourage you to buy more of their products.

The Urine Myth

There’s a widely spread rumor that your body is considered to be “hydrated” if when you urinate, the urine is a clear color. This is absolutely false. The color of your urine should be a pale yellow. If we’re following the “everything in moderation” principle, deep yellow would be slightly dehydrated, clear would be over hydrated, and a pale yellow would be just right. Consider this: the purpose of urinating is to rid your body of acids and toxins, not water. If the color of your urine is clear, you should know that you’re most likely over excreting water and possibly suffering from over hydration and subclinical hyponatremia.

As a recap

While it may be difficult to accurately check if your body is at optimum hydration without checking your kidney functions, or concentration of urine, it is usually safe to just listen to your body. If you’re thirsty, drink water! If you are not thirsty there is a good chance that your hydration status is fine.  When we read that everyone needs to drink more water, it’s more a lesson on skipping the soda and juice and opting for a healthier drink of water. Because noting that we need to drink more water for the sake of hydration, is often erroneous and this misconception can lead to serious consequences.

Do you think your symptoms may be indicative of excessive hydration? Come in for a consultation with Dr. Rothman by calling (732) 268-7663 today!

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To learn more about Michael Rothman MD contact us today by giving us a call at (732) 268-7663, emailing us at [email protected] or by requesting an appointment online.

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